Even A Blind Squirrel…

Are you familiar with the saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while”?

The year of 2017 (and every year since 2009) in the stock markets could fall under this category – and prove dangerous to those not recognizing or admitting this reality.  In other words when the S&P 500, the index of the largest and most recognizable companies in America, rises every year (including dividends) for 9 years in a row (and was up over 13.5% in 6 out of those 9 years) we have been given a slightly false sense of security that investing is easy.

Stock Market

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Silver Lining to Tax Policy Debate

AS IF we need to hear any further “noise” about the debate in Washington, DC regarding tax policy.  There is a basic silver lining (or two) to the discussion worth pointing out.  First, a quick review of the big-picture elements in the limelight:

  • The number and rate of Individual tax payer brackets (15%, 25%, 35%, etc.)
  • The corporate tax rate (20%? 35%? pass-through? etc.)
  • Individual retirement savings vehicles and allowances (IRAs, 401k, “Roth-i-fication”, etc.)

Might I offer TWO “silver linings” to this prolonged, politically entrenched back-and-forth on tax policy:  

GOP Tax Plan

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Year-End Tax Planning

Tax planning is important stuff.  Not as exciting as the markets, but saving money on taxes can be more exciting than you think.  The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter…and the countdown begins to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.*  Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to your 2017 tax situation AND add to your savings. Continue reading “Year-End Tax Planning”

On Hugh Hefner, Rick Pitino…and Markets

One look at the headlines this week and it may leave us lamenting the end of a life “well-lived” by an American icon …or shaking our heads in disgust at a major figure in sports (and the end of a different kind of life well-lived).  All this amidst US markets that continue to go UP, UP, UP leaving investors happy, perhaps carefree and with a sense of confidence in their portfolios and savings.

Time

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Quadrant #2 of Saving: Personal Vision

Last week we explored Quadrant #1 of Saving, or Personal Vision.  This week we take the next step beyond vision to build a portfolio that attempts to bring the vision to life… at some point in the future.

portfolio

This is what “Quadrant #2 of Saving” is all about:  Building a Portfolio.

Unfortunately, this step is often mistakenly addressed first (prior to the vision step) by investors and less-qualified advisers alike.  Why?  Because the portfolio is the part everyone likes to talk about!  Of course, the portfolio is essential; but success depends first on Quadrant #1 and addressing the “Commonly Overlooked” items (see last week’s edition).  plan must be in place to build the savings that go into the portfolio — no savings, no portfolio. Continue reading “Quadrant #2 of Saving: Personal Vision”

The 4 Quadrants of Saving

What are you saving your money for??  Or maybe I should take a step back and ask, ARE you saving?
Saving
Life is a lot easier with savings in the bank (no ####, Sherlock).  However, the act of getting around to saving money may be one of the hardest tasks to achieve in life.  It can help first to figure out for what — and when and with whom — would we even save in the first place?  Accumulating savings can be much more attainable after asking yourself these questions.  From here, a “savings plan” can begin to form.

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Market at Record High: 5 Theories

How about the recent article I read in The Wall Street Journal titled, “Why Do U.S. Stocks Keep Hitting Records? Here Are Five Theories.”* There are at least five reasons for the recent (mostly) strength in U.S. — and global — stocks. Based on historical returns, a nod toward cautious optimism is always healthy as well.  For my long-time readers, this means I will also reference “The Greatest Chart Ever”! Read on…

WSBull

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What Jordan Spieth Can Teach Us About Investing

For the non-golfers you may ask, “Who is Jordan Spieth?”  But like Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter, Jordan Spieth is one of those characters who nearly everyone now knows, golfer or not…sports fan or not.

JordanSpieth

Jordan Spieth is, of course, the 23-year old professional golfer who is nearly topping the record books with his winning of three major professional golf tournaments before the age of 24.  His win at “The Masters” back in 2015 (at age 21) was almost as publicized as the Cubs winning the World Series.  At the end of that same season, he won the season-long (nearly 11 months) “FedEx Cup” which comes with a bonus of… $10 million. Continue reading “What Jordan Spieth Can Teach Us About Investing”

Hawaii 5-0: A Clarification

Clarification:

I received a number of inquiries regarding my comment highlighted below in green.  

  • The reason I said, “…I am working on ALL of them except #3 & #4…” is because I was able to achieve #3 — maxing out on retirement contributions to a 401k and IRA — long ago in my late 20’s.  Being able to achieve this goal was often at great sacrifice involving less leisure travel, not owning car for the first 10 years after college, and choosing small (VERY small – and cheaper) apartments in New York City.  I have remained committed to maxing out my retirement contributions over the years into the present and I pass along this advice to “max out” at every appropriate opportunity.

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Hawaii 5-0

Turning the “Big 5-0” is something that can be celebrated or dreaded.  For me, I chose celebration — in Hawaii just recently!  I truly believe that life keeps getting better with the turning of every year.  Perhaps someday the experience will change, but so far so good.

hawaii

Various milestones whether it be reaching a certain age, job position (change/ promotion/ retirement), family stature (marriage/ parent/ grandparent), or even sporting achievements…deserve to be recognized. Then, along with recognition comes reflection. Of course, for me, having chosen to manage peoples’ financial lives as a profession, reflecting a great deal on the future comes naturally.  My husband may even say that I drive him nuts “reflecting” on the things we need to be doing today and over the next 10-15 years to make retirement a reality. Continue reading “Hawaii 5-0”